Nigerian seafarers decry continuous global rejection of certification, other challenges
Nigerian seafarers have expressed worry over the continued rejection of the Certificate of Competency (CoC) issued by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) globally, stressing the need for urgent government intervention to find a solution to the problem.
They made the call at the second yearly Seafarers Colloquium organised by the Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association in collaboration with the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) to commemorate this year’s Day of the Seafarers in Lagos.
The President of the Merchant Navy officers, Bob Yousuo, noted that the restriction on the CoCs of Nigerian seafarers has deprived them of opportunities to be recognised globally.
He said discussions on the issue of CoC have been ongoing with NIMASA and that it only requires putting the right structure in the nation’s maritime institutions and provision of training vessels.
He said perhaps the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) can conduct an inspection and prove that Nigeria is due to have unlimited certificates, as most of the certificates the nation’s seafarers have are the NCV (Near Coastal Voyage), which is limiting them to be recognised globally.
Yousuo urged NIMASA to have bilateral agreements with other maritime nations to recognise the CoC issued by Nigeria and reverse the worrisome trend.
He also stressed the need for the provision of training vessels to address the problem of sea-time training for cadets.
According to him, local and foreign shipping lines doing business in the country should be mandated to take on board cadets for training.
He said most of the vessels operating in the country are cabotage vessels, which he said the seafarers don’t have access to work on with their certificate because they feel the flag state does not recognise Nigerian certificates.
On his part, President General of MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju extolled Nigerian seafarers who through their work contribute to keeping the ship of the maritime industry revolving under tough and sometimes extremely dangerous circumstances.